Broker linked to accused NYC madam is put on leave
Friday, March 9, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — A Morgan Stanley broker linked to a suspected big-money Manhattan madam was placed on administrative leave Thursday, a day after he was publicly identified as having hosted a meeting where prosecutors say the woman was trying to raise money for a business venture.
David S. Walker hasn’t been charged with any crime, and the investment giant said it had seen no evidence he was involved in criminal activity. But he’ll be on paid leave during the criminal investigation surrounding Anna Gristina, a Morgan Stanley spokesman said.
A message left at Walker’s home wasn’t immediately returned.
The Scottish-born Gristina, 44, ran a high-end prostitution ring for about 15 years, boasting that she had law enforcement connections primed to tell her if trouble was on the way, Manhattan prosecutors say. A mother of four who keeps rescued pigs at her home in suburban Monroe, N.Y., she has pleaded not guilty to promoting prostitution.
Shortly before her arrest last month, she was at a meeting at her friend Walker’s office to court a business investment, prosecutors say. The financial adviser was on hand when she was picked up on a midtown Manhattan street after leaving the office.
Prosecutors believe the venture was an online prostitution service. But Gristina’s lawyers have said she was starting an above-board dating site.
Walker told Morgan Stanley that Gristina was an acquaintance he’d met socially, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss details not made public.
Walker told the local news website DNAInfo on Wednesday that Gristina knew “plenty of other people at Morgan Stanley.” But the firm hasn’t found that anyone else there knew her, according to the person familiar with the matter.
Fox Business Network first reported Walker’s leave.
A broker at various firms since 1988, Walker has spent about the past three years at Morgan Stanley’s money-management arm, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, according to securities industry records.